First Impressions of a California Newspaper: 1850

- by Bruce E. McKinney


In 1862 a 9' panoroma was created by A. Rosenfeld to commemorate the city's progress.

The more interesting story, here reported in some detail, was “the riot at Sacramento City” where “squatters, or settlers to use a less invidious term” as described in the local reporting, raised a brief rebellion against the resident authorities where gun shots rang out, five people died and four others left injured. The reporter is kind enough to say that he was only able to hear one side of the story, that of the authorities, and that doubtless the perspective of those men then in retreat and hiding was probably somewhat different. It is a reminder that the landless and homeless are not new to California. They have been here from its beginnings.

There are other matters of interest. A Mr. Johnson, described as a clever Daguerrean artist (deguerrotype) took some images and provided them to the News to use as a basis for the engraved plates used for this issue. There is also a section on the risks of crossing the plains and Rockies to reach this nirvana of opportunity, disease and death. There is as well also an update on the prospects of statehood which was then apparently hanging in the balance, though a mint in San Francisco was deemed a likely possibility.

There is all this and there is more. I now commend you onto the hands of the editors of the Illustrated California News that you may know more and know it first hand.